April 10, 2020

Basement office, phase II

Basement office, phase II...my deskBasement office, phase II...my desk

I had originally wanted this basement bedroom to become a darkroom. I’ve instead rigged a simpler darkroom in the downstairs bathroom and I’m happy with it, so I cleaned the bedroom and made it into a second office.

I then realized that my wife still didn’t have a real office. She’s been running therapy sessions via video, so I thought she should have something nicer than the tiny crappy desk shoved against one wall. I’ve now moved most of my entire original upstairs office into the basement. The basement is now almost entirely mine”. I’m getting comfy here. So comfy that I put a mini fridge in the room so I can pretty much live here now.

It’s quite a change, but I like it.

April 10, 2020

Using Mylio for photo management

In Bringing my photos in from the cloud I wrote that Photo Mechanic is my Librarian”. That may be changing now that I’ve started testing Mylio as a way to sync, backup, and manage my edited photos.

Here are a few reasons I’m testing Mylio:

  • Photos are synced quickly everywhere and the sync is very robust and seems to work well
  • Mylio does NOT keep my photos in any sort of cloud” storage. Everything is managed right on my devices, as files that I can see right in the finder if I choose to.
  • When using source folders”, Mylio maintains my original folder structure.
  • It has flexible storage rules. I can determine whether any device keeps full copies, thumbnails, or an in-between preview version.
  • Everything works offline and syncs when back on the network.
  • Vaults can be on internal storage, NAS, or even cloud storage if I wanted that.
  • I can keep multiple vaults” which then gives me additional copies of each original.

I still export all keepers” to full-sized jpeg files in my Digital Print Archive. I have this DPA set as the Source” folder for Mylio. This means everything in the archive is immediately available to Mylio on all devices. If I organize folders using Mylio on my phone, the same folder structure changes are mirrored in the DPA. This is exactly how I want to work.

My old system required that I import iPhone photos occasionally and export them to the DPA from Capture One. Now, I have the iPhone’s photo library automatically imported to Mylio. I ruthlessly cull photos from my phone so I end up with only DPA-worthy” photos anyway.

I’ve read reports of people with more than 1 million photos in their Mylio libraries, and they have nothing but good things to say about performance and capabilities. That’s encouraging.

So, Mylio is my new librarian. It replaces Photo Mechanic in that role. I lose some of the fancy bits of PM but I gain enough convenience features (e.g. face recognition, maps, calendar integration, etc) to make it worth the change.

Photography Software Workflow
April 9, 2020

I’ll be using Org-roam for the time being

It’s been a challenging week for me using Roam. For the past several days my Roam database simply wouldn’t load. I’d see the spinning Astrolabe forever. Deleting the site data in my browser and restarting would help for a time, but then it would happen again.

What I’ve come to learn is that I need my Roam database available to me all the time. I understand that Roam is still in beta, but here we are.

While I wait for Roam to figure things out, I’m back to using Org-roam. This means that I’m dependent upon Emacs for useful notes, and I was trying to avoid that, but at least I can get at my notes were something to break. You know, text files and all that.

I prefer real” Roam, but Org-roam is pretty great, and is improving so fast it’s hard to keep up with it. Of course Org mode is just so good anyway. Oh, and it’s stable, so it’s got that going for it.

Org-mode Org-roam Roam
April 7, 2020

Back to boring keyboards

I’ve been using a Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional (HHKB) for almost exactly 2 years. It’s my favorite keyboard since the original Apple Extended Keyboard II. I bought two, one for home and one for the office. Those Topre switches are the greatest.

And yet, I’m now using a couple Apple Magic Keyboards instead. Why? Consistency.

Working from home means that I often move around the house and switch between the big iMac and the MBP. The differences between the HHKB and Magic Keyboard layouts aren’t trivial, and switching between them requires significant adjustments to my muscle memory. It’s too much.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to have actual arrow keys.

I expect to buy the new Magic Keyboard for the iPad once it’s available, so that’s yet another keyboard with normal” layout and feel.

I’m going to sacrifice perfection for consistency for a while. Oh, and the 16″ MBP keyboard is great. So good that I’ve nearly forgotten about that butterfly abomination from earlier. Forgotten, but not forgiven :).

April 6, 2020

Recursion, by Blake Crouch 📚

RecursionRecursion by Blake Crouch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Love the idea of sending someone’s consciousness back into a memory, dead memories, rewriting timelines, etc. Characters were interesting. Would’ve liked more Slade. It got a little wound up toward the end.

April 5, 2020

Yet another domain move

You’re all probably tired of this by now, and I don’t blame you.

I reinstated my Blot-based blog last week at baty.blog but I’ve never really got along with that domain name. Sounded good in theory but in practice it felt forced somehow. So, I’ve rolled copingmechanism.com up here instead. I like that domain. It fits.

To do this I had to create a couple new S3 buckets for redirection, with a Cloudfront distribution in front of it for SSL. All the old URLs should forward correctly. I haven’t moved all the original copingmechanism.com content over yet. I’m working through it slowly. I haven’t figured out how to move the original webmentions over to the new domain, so I’ll have to work on that, too.

So it seems I’m truly down to two active sites: https://www.copingmechanism.com and https://rudimentarylathe.org.

Getting there!

April 5, 2020

Did we ever really understand film? - Dante Stella

Dante Stella, 2019:

Almost 20 years into the 21st century, conventional black-and-white film has no real mysteries. For most of recorded history, film followed a pretty regimented set of tradeoffs: slower film had finer grain and finer tonal rendition. Things got grainier and lost dynamic range as film increased in speed. Although tablet grained b/w films helped increase performance, most of what you see in black and white films is the product of design tradeoffs rather than some deliberate aesthetic proposition.

…as an almost old person, I am not at all hesitant to tell you that everyone in their 20s has a Dunning-Kruger delusion when it comes to the technical aspects of photography. As someone who was there for the twilight of mainstream film photography, I would mostly observe that until the bitter end, film R&D was aimed at making the medium a neutral one that could be manipulated via development, printing, or even scanning — and that today, you can easily mistake random errors for some intentional aesthetic balance

Film stocks aren’t magic. I looked for magic for a long time, but found none.

Photography Analog Film
April 4, 2020

First draft of new basement workspace

After I moved in with my wife, this basement bedroom was going to be converted into a darkroom. That hasn’t happened, and probably won’t, so I’m working on making it into a sort of office/writing space.

I wouldn’t mind windows, but short of that I should at least get some photos up on the wall. It’s on the list.

For now, I have a large desk, light table, and a small refrigerator. The record player is not far away. I’d say it’s a fine start.

April 4, 2020

Falling in love

April 4, 2020

My changing attitude about the iPad as a real computer

Jobs, in 2010, said Touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical.” and I agree with him still. He was mostly right, anyway.

I’ve not been shy about dismissing the iPad as a real” computer.

Sitting with a 12.9″ iPad Pro on a desk with a keyboard has always been an exercise in frustration. Close, but nope. I find that having to reach up and out in order to do nearly anything on the screen is tiring and slow after just a few minutes. Those claiming that editing any significant amount of text using touch is a decent experience must be suffering some version of Stockholm Syndrome. Seriously, I hate it.

A touch screen’s 1:1 mapping between hand movement and what happens on the screen is heralded as intuitive”, and it may be, but it’s also a lot of work. Using a keyboard and mouse or trackpad enables tiny movements of a couple of fingers or my wrist to have an amplified effect on what’s happening on the screen. I much prefer that to reaching up using my entire arm just to tap a button or scroll something.

I know, I know, I’m old and wrong. You don’t have to tell me that. But I’m also kind of not wrong.

This isn’t meant as yet another get a real computer!” rant. In fact, it’s the opposite. iPadOS 13.4 introduced full-fledged pointer support and it’s fantastic. It’s transformed the way I feel about using the iPad. It makes me want to use it.

Most of what I do on a computer involves text. The ability to use a trackpad to select/move/copy text is world-changing. The implementation in iPadOS is terrific. What we had before was bullshit. What we have now is great.

I’m writing this using Ulysses on the iPad and I have no real complaints. I’m not even using a trackpad, I’m using an Apple Magic Mouse and it’s, dare I say it, very nice. I can’t wait to try the new Apple keyboard with built-in trackpad.

Of course I do lots of other, non-text-related things on a computer, many of which I don’t know how to do well on the iPad.

Now that I don’t hate doing the thing I do most often on the iPad, maybe I’ll be patient enough to learn how to do those other things. I’m going to find out which of those I can either learn how to do in iOS, which of them still suck, and which I don’t actually need to do (e.g. how can anyone live without a decent terminal at the ready?).

Now, if could somehow figure out how to use all those crazy, undecipherable iPadOS multi-tasking features I might be onto something.

Apple iOS Hardware Workflow